We’ve done the Thankful Tree since Caden was just a wee-little tyke and every year, I enjoy (and even look forward) to the daily act of taking a “thankful time-out.” As we gather ’round that cardboard tree and add our colored leaves, I absolutely love the growing reminder it brings to our home–the reminder that God has graciously lavished us with many, many gifts.
And I love, love, love hearing what the kids share on their “thankful leaves.”
“For my blankie and my baby”
“For my cozy bed”
“For Mrs. Hahn”
“For my warm socks”
“For The Pittsburgh Steelers” (Yes, that is perfectly acceptable)
“For taking nap-naps”
“For I learn from my mistakes”
I just love hearing their praise and listening to the THINGS that matter to them…the THINGS that bless their heart and warm their souls. I LOVE it.
And this year has been no different.
In fact, it’s been a sweet addition to have our Evie Rae (a now-talking bundle of joy) adding her “thankful leaves” to our family tree.
But in the last 16 days, I keep seeing a predictable pattern to the leaves she sticks to the tree. In addition to always wanting the “red heart” (the red leaf that apparently looks like a heart because Mommy doesn’t DO leaves), she most always says, “I thankful for Mommy and Daddy,” or some variation of that.
And I confess (though it was super endearing and super sweet for the first 12 days), I started digging for some “new” leaf material.
“Evie, what else are you thankful for?”
“Mommy and Daddy!”
“Yeah, and what else?”
“Daddy and Mommy!”
“Uh huh. And what else?”
“Yep. And for what else?”
And this is how a lot of our conversations have enfolded at the foot of our cardboard tree (the one with the heart-shaped leaves).
But ya know what?
I got a little convicted about the predictable pattern of Evie’s praise; I got a little challenged by the continuous way this little girl wanted to be thankful for her parents and the role they play in her little life.
So what convicted me? What changed my thoughts about Evie’s predictable “red hearts?”
Well, yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at the dining room table in front of my open journal, cracked Bible, and steaming cup of caffeine, and I found myself not only engrossed in studying the attributes of God, but also in writing out specific prayers of thankfulness for WHO HE IS.
God, thank you for being perfect in knowledge. Thank you for knowing everything about me. Thank you for knowing what our family needs. Thank you for knowing the deepest and darkest struggles of my soul. Thank you for knowing all the things I cannot. God, help me trust your OMNISCIENCE. Help me to lay aside my need to know, so I can rest in your all-knowing’ness.
God, thank you that there is nothing too hard for you. Thank you that nothing can thwart your plans for my life. Thank you for having the power to extend to me all that you have planned for me. Help me to remember your OMNIPOTENCE displayed in the design of your Creation and in your miraculous act of Resurrection. Help me relinquish my need to do it in my own, limited strength.
God, thank you for being ETERNAL. Thank you that you live forever, and that you are not confined by my time. Thank you for not being constrained by time, and thank you for holding ALL the time in your capable hands. Help me to remember that you will act according to your time frame and even though it might not be mine, you know best.
God, thank you for always remaining, for never changing, and for never wavering. Thank you for being IMMUTABLE. Thank you for not changing when everything else does. Thank you for remaining ever-faithful and always-steadfast. Thank you for being stable, reliable, loyal, and consistent, even when I am not. Thank you for being my anchor.
And as I wrote, the Spirit spoke.
On and on, I studied, read, and wrote.
On and on, I gave thanks for HIM.
On and on, I gave praise to HIM.
On and on, I acknowledged HIM.
And before I knew it, 45 minutes had passed, and my journal was full of “red-heart leaves.” My pages were full of praise to my HEAVENLY PARENT, over and over acknowledging HIS UNIQUENESS, HIS ROLE, and my absolute gratefulness for HIS LOVE of me.
To be honest, my journal looked a whole lot like Evie’s leaves that have been littering our tree and fluttering from its limbs.
So when we asked Evie this morning what she was thankful for and she immediately responded with, “Mommy and Daddy,” I happily wrote it on the tree (again).
Because sometimes there are parents and A PARENT who deserve our continual and repeated praise.
From the rising of the sun to its setting, The name of the LORD is to be praised. Psalm 113:3
I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. Psalm 104:33
My mouth is filled with Your praise And with Your glory all day long. Psalm 71:8
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1